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happening now in the newsroom, breaking news overnight, the pope stepping down at the end of the month. this hasn't happened in nearly 600 years. the pope's last tweet even more telling this morning. "we must trust in the mighty power of god's mercy. we are all sinners, but his grace transforms us and makes us new." just ahead, benedict's health, his replacement, and what's next for the catholic church. "newsroom" starts now.
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good morning. thank you so much for joining me. i'm carol costello. we begin with a bombshell greeting 1 billion catholics around the world. their spiritual leader, pope benedict xvi stepping down at the end of the month. we're bringing you all the angles of this developing story. joining me now for this hour's special coverage, chris cuomo, he's in new york. >> good morning, carol. great to joining here. shocking news because this simply hasn't been done. it's been almost 600 years since a pope resigned. it was gregory xii. it was to end the civil war. the question becomes why is pope benedict doing this now? we're going to get reaction first because no one saw this coming, certainly in this country. let's start off our coverage with deb feyerick in st. patrick's cathedral in new york city, the center of the american catholic tradition here. deb, what are you hearing this morning? what a shocker. >> reporter: it's fascinating because the resignation took many here by surprise. we spoke just a short time ago with the archbishop of new york,
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cardinal timothy dolan, and he says he was startled when he heard the news. he said there have been rumors at various points that pope benedict xvi would be stepping down, but when the formal word came that he was resigning, it took the entire diocese, certainly by surprise. now, we did speak to him a little bit earlier. he said, you know, pope benedict understood that, in fact, he was in frail health, that even back in 2005, when his name came up for consideration to become the pope, he mentioned that he was getting older. he is going to be 86 years old in the next two months. and so he understood that. and being pope is a very grueling kind of job, the cardinal said. people are always trying to get near you, trying to jostle, trying to push, and he said that made it a little bit difficult for pope benedict in terms of the physical demands that it required on his job. now, arch bishop timothy dolan says that the conclave will begin in just about a month.
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they're really waiting for instructions to come down from the vatican. that should be happening. but, again, he said he was just as surprised as everybody, and a a lot of folks that have passed by here, one woman saying, make sure you tell people pope benedict was a good pope, is a good pope. another man was also startled, worried that, in fact, our presence here suggested that perhaps it was more than just frail health, that, in fact, perhaps he had passed. not the case. he has just decided to step down. again, the news filtering to all of his cardinals, his archbishop, everybody in the catholic church, taking many by surprise today. chris? >> deb, thank you for that. please say with us. you and i have covered what may have been this pope's high point, the trip to the united states. it was such a re-invigoration point for so many of america's catholics. this latest sparks suspicions. why now? is there anything lurking there?
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is there ha secret? very little happens at the vatican that's a surprise. people know. he is 85 years old now, pope benedict. he says in his own statement that for some months he's been looking at his own health. it's unavoidable for him. it is a very taxing job. as we remember, as we get more insight from our vatican correspondent and analyst, this is a pope, who as cardinal, as john ratzinger, was very keenly aware of what happened to pope john paul ii. he talked to people about how his demise seemed somewhat of a dishonorable end to his papacy. he had in his mind already what type of glorious exit, to use the phrase, he may want in store for him. let's get some perspective as to what is coming out of the vatican as to why this is happening, what it means. john allen, our senior vatican analyst, joins us now. what do we know, john? >> reporter: what we know is that we are living through a day of enormous shock here in rome. not so much the pope benedict
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xvi chose to resign. he signaled two years ago that he would be open to doing that, but the fact that we had absolutely no indication this was coming today. precisely because of that, therefore, there are some enormous unanswered questions about how all of this is going to play out. i suppose the biggest questions would be, "a," what will the role of a retired pope be? will he continue to play any kind of public role? will he continue to exercise any influence on the future direction of catholicism almost whether he wants to or not? and the second obvious question is the one, i think, going through the minds of some 120 cardinals around the world today, which is who in god's name are they going to choose as his successor. they obviously themselves had no indication that in a little over a month's time, they would likely be gathering in rome to begin the process of organizing a conclave. >> you make a good point, though, john. obviously, this is something that the pope had brought up
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himself a couple of years ago. there's no reason to believe it means anything about any imminent action or change in direction. the surprise just comes from the timing, right? >> well, that's true. the surprise is not in the content of the decision because i think the pope prepared the ground for it himself in that interview a couple of years ago. i think the surprise is in the timing. in terms of whether this signals any change in direction, i don't think it will likely signal any change of direction on content, that is, the cardinals who will be electing the next pope would be largely in lock step with benedict xvi about the big picture teachings of the church. but i do think it will likely signal a change in what you might call business management in the vatican. i think there's a consensus that, while benedict xvi has been a great teaching pope, there have been a number of crises and controversies and meltdowns on his watch, some of them perhaps inevitable, but
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some of themself-inflicted. i do think many of the cardinals are hoping to elect a pope, perhaps because of age, and perhaps because of personal background, who will be in a position to take the reins of government a bit more closely in his own hands. >> there's so much intrigue that surrounds the movements of the vatican, the mysticism, and it is an intriguing question. if the pope resigns, which he has signaled he intends to do on february 28th at 20 hours, which is when his papacy will end, he doesn't go back to being a cardinal, i would assume, because that is a designation given. he is certainly a bishop. do you think he could have -- i don't know the law, maybe you do, the canon law -- could he have any role in the decision process of who the next pope is? or is he simply excluded because he's not currently one of the 120 cardinals? >> reporter: this question obviously came up at the briefing that the vatican spokesperson, father federico lombardi provided for the press early afternoon rome time. in terms of what the pope is
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going to be called, lombardi says we don't actually know. that's one of the unanswered questions. probably the emeritus bishop of rome, that is, the former or retired bishop of rome. that has not been started. lombardi was categorical that benedict xvi will not have any role, either behind the scenes or in public, of selecting the next pope. as soon as the period of vacancy of the see of rome begins at 8:00 on the 28th, he is going to head to the summer residence of the pope in the hills outside of rome and then eventually will make his way to a monastery within the vatican, where he intends to lead a quiet life of prayer. in any event, he will not be joining the cardinals for their daily meetings in the run-up to the conclave, and he certainly will not be inside the sistine chapel casting a ballot for the next successor of rome. he has left that in the hands of
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the cardinals to determine. the indications are that he will play no role in that and further that, once a new pope is on the job, he clearly intends to pass the torch to that man and not play any kind of administrator or governance role in church affairs from that point forward. >> in his own statement, what he said was that he foresees the role of a pope who resigns as living a simple life of prayer. john, thank you very much. a lot of speculation about this, about what this will mean going forward. let's get another perspective on it. delia gallagher is the contributing editor of "inside t the vatican" magazine in rome. she joins us by phone. can you hear us? >> yes. hello. >> quite a day you're living there. what was the first flush of response to this news? how was it taken? >> i think everybody's first response was it can't be true. we had to verify it. of course, the verification came rather quickly, and then the
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obvious question is why? i think that maybe the why is just very simple, and that is that probably two considerations for the pope, one, what he said, his own physical strength, the day to day life of a pope is very taxing. he has readings and speeches to give and travels to make. for any 85-year-old man, that's quite a task. on the other hand, i think the priority question for him would have been what's the best thing for the church? as he said in his statement, he understood perfectly that being pope also required prayer and suffering, and, of course, he had seen firsthand the sort of frailty, the years of frailty of john paul ii, and perhaps that was also in his mind when he was considering his own future and saying, maybe it wasn't the case to have a repeat of years where
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things could have been accomplished more quickly. he said in today's world there are rapid changes. it requires a pope who has the strength of mind and body. probably a very simple analysis is that this is a very decisive character, benedict xvi, and he probably decided for the future he didn't want to find himself in that kind of a position. >> and yet he had just started tweeting, delia, on december 3rd. he just made this huge step into this new reality going into the twitter world. and now such a short period afterwards, he says that his body essentially is not allowing him to continue this. we talk about his influence going forward. obviously, a looming question, but i don't want to get to it too quickly. who will take his place? the archbishop of milan is a choice people talk about. i'm sure you have insight. but right now this college of cardinals, 120, are all picked by either john paul ii or by
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this pope, pope benedict, so his influence is going to be obvious, no? >> yes, absolutely. his and john paul ii. it's still heavily weighted towards european cardinals. there's about 62 europeans versus 11 americans, 11 from asia, 11 from africa. and latin america, of course, has about 20. but it doesn't really matter exactly how many from each country necessarily. it matters what are they going to think about the future of the church and whether or not pope benedict will be seen as that kind of -- what we said in the beginning, when he was elect, maybe a sort of holdover transition pope to allow the time for everybody to move forward and elect an african or a latin american. so it may be the case that they feel now is the time. we'll have to wait and see. certainly, i think the cardinals themselves suddenly will have that question right at the top
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of their mind, something they didn't expect so soon. >> to deal with the end of this papacy, before we move on to the next, what do you think the enduring aspect will be of pope benedict's legacy? he took the name benedict as the patron saint of europe, to try to inculcate a sense that was going to be his priority, bring europe back into the fold, get more catholics more active there. it seems he was not able to achieve it. the numbers suggest there are few er catholics there now than when he took the papacy on. what do you think the legacy is? >> for him, it was never a question of numbers. i think you're right, he chose that name in honor of st. benedict as a kind of way of saying, you know, for him, the catholic roots of europe were very important, and for him the idea of faith and reason and in a world which he considers
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relativist and secularist and so on. his main prospect was to try and re-establish a sense of identity and catholic identity for catholics themselves and then for people around the world. i think he felt that maybe that was waning a little bit. and the way that he chose to do that and the way that he's most effective is through his writings. so you see in terms of his legacy, we can't really talk about some of the day to day things because he came into a very difficult situation. he came after a very popular pope. he came in the midst of the pedophilia crisis. there was a lot of day to day from the practical perspective of the catholic church, that many people say he wasn't able to do much about because his forte perhaps is in his teaching and in his writings and so on. i think that will be his legacy, but it's a long-term legacy, and it's a legacy for those who are interested in the kind of theology and so on of the
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catholic church. on the other hand, he did, i think, we have to give him some credit for attempting to deal with the cases of pedophilia because that was something certainly which was a top priority of this pontificate, but it's a huge issue with lots of consequences that will still need to be dealt with by the next pope. >> delia, thank you so much for the insight into this. of course, so many questions going to come out of this about the timing, what it means, what it means next. a discussion that will certainly go on beyond today. that's all we have for now. delia, thank you very much. carol, back to you. >> a little bit more discussion because for american catholics, this is a shocker. this is more than a shocker. for american catholics, at least half of them, they hope the next pope is more progressive when it comes to things like birth control and gay rights. those issues important when it comes to the number of catholics leaving the church in the united states. joining me now, sister mary edwall, the director of media relations for the u.s.
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conference of catholic bishops. good morning, sister. >> good morning. >> i know pope benedict said he's resigning because of his health. some people there's more to this. pope john paul suffered from parkinson's disease. he died while still pope. do you care to speculate? >> i think pope benedict xvi saw what it was like to have a papacy when the man at the head of the church is so ill. there's a slowdown, so to speak, in getting the work done during the papacy of john paul ii and also during the papacy of paul vi. so i think his own experience with what it means to have someone at the helm who is not up to 24/7 because of his own physical limitations probably influenced him. he knew more than others what this really meant because he was right there in the vatican. >> there are some big issues the catholic church is dealing with now, if the new pope is italian,
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as italians will be pushing for, or american, as americans are pushing for, is it more likely that the church will bend on perhaps allowing more women to use birth control? >> i don't think that's a major issue right here at this point. i think, when the pope is elected, you're looking at what's going on in the world. that is what influences the papal conclave. so we have intense problems regarding peace, particularly in the middle east. we have the problem of lack of church unity, the sismatic groups the holy father has worked very hard to bring back into the fold. and you have the poverty. he went to africa to highlight the terrible poverty there and bring the world's attention to it. i think those are the things that influence papal election. >> sister mary ann walsh from the u.s. conference of bishops. thank you so much for joining us this morning. we appreciate it. when we come back, there's been a shooting in delaware at a courthouse. we'll have all the details next. it's a new day.
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has opened fire outside the courthouse. several people have been hit, including the constable. no immediate word on the exact number of victims or the severity of the wounds. police say the shooting took place at the newcastle county court of common pleas. to california and still no sign of the ex-cop wanted in the killings of three people, one of them a police officer. search goes on in the san bernardino mountains. the last known location of former police officer christopher dorner. right now there is a $1 million reward for information leading to his capture. it's the largest ever offered for a criminal suspect in southern california. >> this is an act, make no mistake about it, of domestic terrorism. this is a man that we entrusted to protect the public. his actions cannot go unanswered. >> los angeles police department providing additional security at the homes of 50 officers and their families who could be targets of dorner.
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warmer, wet weather in the northeast might help some people dig out from nearly three feet of snow. it still feels cold to nearly 50,000 people who remained without power this morning. it's a time lapse video posted by jeff fox in hamden, connecticut. they got 40 inches of snow. schools closed today after the city was practically buried. and people in hattiesburg, mississippi, cleaning up after a tornado tore through town. today schools are closed, including the university of southern mississippi. the storm left at least 16 people injured, two of them critically. this morning about 4,000 power customers are without electricity. but the big news of the day, pope benedict handing in his resignation. let's go back to new york with chris cuomo. >> thank you, carol. thank you for inviting me to your show this morning. appreciate it. joining me is father edward
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beck, the host of the sunday mass on abc's family channel. father, thank you very much. >> you're welcome. >> let's move into the idea of is there any intrigue here? you could accept it on its face. the pope is 85 years old. he's got a very strong mind. he's seen his own deterioration. very close to john paul ii. saw his own demise and spoke to people about it. do you believe there's any cause for intrigue or something different on its face? >> like another dan brown book in the making. >> is it? >> i don't think so. i think it's a frail man who realizes it. he saw john paul ii and was very close to that whole scene of him deteriorating, and he doesn't want that for himself. he talked two years ago about the possibility of a pope resigning if in ill health, and he's following through with what he said would be a good thing to do. i don't buy the intrigue part of it at all. >> and a pope can resign. they're throwing around the world abdication, this is not a throne. he's not throwing it away.
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>> the pope does have the right to resign. now, granted the last time it happened was 600 years ago when there was intrigue about who the real pope was. pope gregory said, i'm going to resign. you all figure it out. a pope can resign in modern times. you look at pope john paul ii, and say, if anyone should have resigned, it was he. parkinson's, couldn't get around. i think it's the visual image of a man incapacitated. people say, how much is he really doing then? how much does he have his hands on the pulse of what's happening? >> supposed to be the rock, and that takes the strength in every way you can see the term applied. let me ask you. the legacy, he came into very unfortunate times for the catholic church. how do you think he'll be remembered in terms of effectiveness? >> certainly, he will be remembered as a pope who brought the catholic church to the right. some would say to the right. conservative in his moral ethics. wanted to bring catholicism a
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little bit back to where it had come from, i think, after vatican ii. he brought us back. there is a traditional strain of catholicism and members of that strain who say that's exactly what we needed. we're becoming like everyone else. we needed to have our identity shored up, and he did that for us. >> father beck, thank you for that perspective. obviously, we all want to see what happens next. that's what happens, carol, every time a pope leaves, it's all about who the next pope will be. >> and that amazing ceremony at the vatican. actually, i can't wait. chris cuomo, thank you. president obama plans to get tough with congress in his state of the union speech on jobs, economy, and the middle class. should the president use his bully pulpit more? it's our talk back question today. max has a nice little tra, you see, c-max helps you load your freight, with its foot-activated lift gate. but that's not all you'll see,
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now your chance to talk back on one of the top stories of the day. your question, should president obama use his bully pulpit more? don't expect tea and roses on president obama's state of the union speech. he'll come out swinging on jobs, the economy, and the middle class. president obama plans to go on the offensive and maybe burn
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political capital to force the republicans to cave on more taxes and fewer budget cuts, instead of $1.2 trillion in cuts already planned on march 1st. >> right now most members of congress, including many republicans, don't think it's a good idea to put thousands of jobs at risk and do unnecessary damage to our economy. and yet the current republican plan puts the burden of avoiding those cuts mainly on seniors and middle class families. they'd rather ask more from the vast majority of americans and put our recovery at risk than close even a single tax loophole that benefits the wealthy. >> what's that, mr. president? higher taxes again? republican senator rand paul, who will give the tea party response to president obama's state of the union, he'll have none of it. >> the president likes to say everybody needs to pay their fair share, which means he wants to raise taxes. i'll talk about the republican message, which is we believe that you stimulate the economy by reducing taxes, not revenue
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neutral. i mean really reducing taxes. >> bipartisanship. once obama's buzz word, it's so yesterday. still tough talk helped obama win a payroll tax cut and perhaps even the election. so he may be gambling for more. so the talk back question for you today, should president obama use his bully pulpit more? or tweet me @carolcnn. welcome to a special edition of "newsroom." i'm carol castel low. a special announcement that pope benedict will resign. a quick check of other top stories. a main road connecting long island to new york city has reopened just in time for the morning rush hour. the long island expressway had been shut down to crews could clear snow and ice nearly eight
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inches deep. but getting to the highway is its own challenge. some surface streets still have not been plowed. more now on the major news from the vatican, that post benedict is resigning at the end of the month. the 85-year-old pope is announcing his advanced age. he's the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years. let's check in with chris cuomo. >> just to give context to the intrigue here, when pope benedict was selected, it was assumed he'd be a short-timer. they were hoping he'd get ten years. he wound up doing just about eight. maybe there shouldn't be as much cause for surprise, but to be sure, pope benedict xvi's sudden resignation brings to an end his long career in the church that doesn't come without striking moments. >> reporter: joseph ratzinger was elected pope benedict xvi in april of 2005. the college of cardinals did not pick an unknown quantity.
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he was considered one of the catholic church's finest minds. he was the professor watching the back of his star-like predecessor john paul ii, whom he served as a trusted adviser and friend. many expected the severe german cardinal would bring his strict style to the papacy, and in some ways, he has. he reaffirmed the church's strong opposition to abortion, gay marriage, and euthanasia. in his first major ruling as pope, he imposed restrictions on homosexuals becoming priests. in the year following his election, during a trip to germany, pope benedict made perhaps the most controversial remarks of his papacy, addressing a group of scholars. he quoted a byzantine emperor, asserting the prophet muhammad brought things "only evil and inhuman." the comment sparked outrage and protests in many muslim countries. the pope tried to defuse the anger by clarifying the quote did not express his personal views but stopped short at an outright apology. his first trip to a predominantly muslim country, turkey, provided him with an opportunity to mend fences.
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from the moment he touched down, his desire to defuse tensions was evident. >> many come to know one another better, strengthening the bonds of affection between us and our common cause to live together in harmony, peace, and mature trust. >> reporter: the crisis exposed the fragile relationship between christians and muslims in a post-9/11 world. in another problem facing the church, a clergy sex abuse scandal. in 2008 during a trip to the united states, pope benedict met with sex abuse victims. he would later ask the public for forgiveness. >> we too insistently beg forgiveness from god and from the persons involved while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again. >> reporter: while pope benedict xvi has faced many of the same issues as his predecessors, he also brought modern moment to the papacy.
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recording a showing in the square, and even establishing a twitter account, all while staying true to the tenets of the catholic faith and guiding the church into the 21st century. >> it does make you wonder, chris, what's a retired pope to do? what do retired popes do? >> it is unprecedented. we haven't seen it in so many years, since gregory xii. he suggests, pope benedict, it will be a life of quiet prayer. there's so much unsettled in the church right now and there is such a division between the need to reclaim orthodoxy and the need to be progressive. here in america, we know growing up here that there's all this talk about the need for progress -- married priests, different ideas about birthrights -- but that doesn't necessarily reflect the entire world, the population of catholics. he's going to be, i think, done when this resignation is complete. the church will look for a new pope that is entirely the sum
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total of their focus, but maybe the message won't be that different. >> it's interesting because i would suspect that progressive catholics of this country are celebrating at the news that pope benedict will resign. conservative and moderate catholics in america are probably a little bit confused right now. there's got to be something done about the diminishing number of catholics here in the united states, and it will be interesting to see if that will factor into the decision in who's the next pope. >> you ask such an interesting question. you really have your finger right on it because, when you make this decision about how do we move forward, it assumes that these are almost political questions, but they're not. they're relinlius, and there's so much adherence to the code, that the religion is what it is, and you live by the rules because that's what the faith is about. what is faith? what is the church? what should be the right rules? and maybe the expedience of the moments, if we just adjust to the times, you se some sense of what the faith is at its core. that's certainly the orthodox
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position. on the other hand, you've got lots of catholics from my generation who want to see it be more exclusive and sclus inclus inviting, and would want that from the pope. >> especially when it comes to birth control. mary ann walsh sort of pooh-poohed that, but it is very important to catholic women. almost 90% of catholic women have taken birth control at some point in their lives. >> and there are no women priests or women in positions of power, not to denegrate in any way the nuns and the amazing influence they had on many lives, including mine as a catholic student. but this pope himself, very interesting, called the rottweiler of god, so strict to orthodoxy, he got into a point of confusion, right, because when he was talking about africa, the first time that they talked about contraception, he said, it's only making the problem worse, and everyone went crazy, that they didn't like it. then later on, when asked a question about whether or not if a prostitute had a condom on when he was doing her job, would
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that make her a sinner? and he said maybe not because you could say that using the contraception was her putting herself in a position of moral responsibility. even this pope got caught up in that. it's very difficult when you look at practicalities and religion. very often they're at odds. >> we'll be talking about this all day. chris cuomo, thanks so much for joining me. i appreciate it. >> pleasure, carol. great to be here with you. >> nice to have you here. we're going to get our political buzz table to weigh in on the resignation of the pope. push-ups or sprints? what's wrong with fetch? or chase? let's do this larry! ooh, i got it, i got it! (narrator) the calorie-smart nutrition in beneful healthy weight... includes grains and real chicken, because a healthy dog is a playful dog. beneful healthy weight. find us on facebook to help put more play in your day. i just served my mother-in-law your chicken noodle soup
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immigration reform, tackling the deficit, gun control -- all part of president obama's ambitious second term agenda. and now there are reports the president is considering what has become a familiar tool to push his agenda through a divided congress, basically mr. obama is going to ignore congress and enact a series of executive actions. question for you this morning, are executive actions the only way to get things done in washington these days? l.z.? >> that's a band-aid. if you want something long term, you have to work with congress because we need legislative change because essentially what you're saying is that the next president can come in and just reverse things, and then we have a back and forth sort of way of governing, and that's not really productive. we need congress to make decisions. this is a band-aid. i understand it's frustrations, but he's got to go and find a way to work with congress because that's the only way to having long-term solutions. >> will? >> if they're the only way to get things done in congress, then we need to add an adjective, which is they're the only inappropriate way to get
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things done in congress. the entire system was set up to make it very, very difficult to get things done. why? because a law is 51% dictating to 49% the way it will be. between three branches of government, two legislative branches, and veto power, it was designed to be difficult. executive actions were designed to be very limited in use. let's hope this isn't the future of government. >> second topic. the obama administration under scrutiny for using drones to kill u.s. citizens abroad who are suspected of terrorism, sparking criticism from both sides of the aisle. kentucky senator rand paul telling this to cnn's candy crowley. >> i think you should be tried for treason. if you're an american citizen and you go overseas and take up arms, i'm probably for executing you, but i would want to hear the evidence. i would want to have a judge and a jury. it can be fairly swift, but there needs to be a trial for treason. the president, a politician, republican or democrat, should never get to decide someone's death by flipping through some
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flash cards and saying, do you want to kill him? i don't know. let's go ahead and kill him. >> former defense secretary bob gates calls himself a, quote, big advocate of drones but agrees there is a valid argument about checking presidential power. so the question for you this morning, should someone else besides the obama administration decide when to use drones to kill? will? >> here's the deal, carol. it is extremely offensive to think about american citizens being deprived of life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness, emphasis on life there, without any due process. that's the due process clause of the constitution. the problem is it's weighed against the power in article ii for the president to conduct war. here's the deal. if you're interested in anything beyond just president obama's bad, if you're interested in the principle, you have to look at the concept of the war on terror and how it was chartered because that is what gives president obama the power. it's an ill defined war with a never ending proposition and a vague enemy. we have to address it. there's the heart of the problem. >> l.z.? is >> that buzzer scared me. i thought i was on the grammy
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stage. here's the thing with me. what is truly the pragmatic alternative? if you think you have americans who are plotting harm on u.s. soil, i understand wanting due process, but this isn't about sending like a police force into a town and arresting someone. you're talking about a mission that's going to take millions of dollars. where is this money coming from? we're strapped for cash as it is. we've been strapped for cash for over a decade. where is all the extra funds coming from to do all these trials, to extract people out of different countries so we can have this due process? i think president obama is choosing the lesser of two evils, one i think is more pragmatic. is it ideal? no. it is what it is. >> financial argument against due process, wow. >> final question, third question. we talked a lot about pope benedict's resignation this morning. the pontiff saying advanced age is forcing him to step down. the question for you, what is significance of the pope's resignation beyond catholicism? l.z.? >> i tell you, i was checking
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facebook, and i can't find anyone of my thousands of friends who are mourning this occasion. in fact, i found several people, particularly those involved with the lgbt movement who are hopeful that maybe now they'll get a pope who doesn't necessarily say disparaging things about his lgbt children. beyond that, you definitely have the conversation about the uses of contraception, particularly this anti-condom rhetoric from the pope. >> ignore the buzzer. go ahead. >> thank you very much. and you've got to remember 30% of congress is catholic. and so while the general population doesn't necessarily care, i'm sure those catholics in washington do care. and so what comes next is very important for the policies that are being set here, particularly with regards to abortion and lgbt rights. >> will, you can ignore the buzzer too. what do you say? >> i don't need all that time. you know, what's the significance of the resignation of the pope beyond catholicism,
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you ask? i'll offer you this. i'm not catholic. i can't -- it's better that i speak not directly to the influence on catholicism anyway. here's the deal. i think what it reflects is the declining influence of institutions. you're looking at the catholic church, which you can't avoid the conclusion that over the seven years of pope benedict's influence, that it's been enveloped in controversy. whether or not you're talking about business succumbing to upstarts in garages or the ability of the catholic church to dictate the beliefs of people that are now tailoring religion to their own personal views. whether or not that's good or bad, that's what's happening. it shows the declining influence of institutions in our world and the empowerment of kind of personalized individualism. >> fascinating. thank you so much for being with us. will cain, l.z. granderson. >> you bet. it's hard to forget the legacy whitney houston left behind. ♪ i should stay i would only get
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in the way ♪ >> one year ago today, whitney houston drowned in a hotel room in a bathtub. even know, some of our best friends are pausing to remember what houston meant to them. at university of phoenix we know the value of your education is where it can take you. (subway announcer; "now arriving at city hospital") which is why we're proud to help connect our students with leading employers across the nation. (subway announcer: "next stop financial center") let's get to work.
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the 49 minutes past the hour. time to check our top stories. catholics around the world are waking up to news pope benedict xvi is stepping down at the end of the month. the 85-year-old pontiff surprised the world by citing his advanced amg as the reason for resigning. the vatican spokesman said it was a carefully thought out decision and not impulsive. the city of los angeles hopes a $1 million christopher dorner is accused of police officer and two others in a revenge plot targeting the lapd. investigators have scaled back their search in a mountain resort community. some officials think dorner may have left the state. a former member of president obama's cabinet wants more oversight into a program using
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drones. robert gates made the argument. >> i think this idea of being able to execute in effect an american citizen no matter how awful, having some third party, having a say in it or perhaps some -- informing the congress or the intelligence committees or something like that, i just think some check on the ability of a president to do this has merit as we look to the longer term future. gr both democrats and republicans have questioned the use of lethal drone attack which is have also targeted officials overseas. john brennan has been a vocal advocate for uses drones to target enemies. people in hattiesburg, mississippi, will ebe cleaning p
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from a huge tornado that tore through town. schools remain closed including the university of southern mississippi. the storm left at least 16 people injured, two of them critically. about 4,000 customers have no power this morning. the doctor who operated on olympic champion skier lindsey vonn says her surgery was a success and she's optimistic she'll make a full recovery. vonn under went surgery on her right knee after a crash in austrian. she hopes to be back competing in time for next year's winter olympics. newsroom continues after this.
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today will be a difficult one for friend s and family of
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whitney houston. one year ago today, houston died in a los angeles hotel. contributing to her death, cocaine and heart disease. kim burrell was like a sister to whitney houston and she joins us live from houston, test xas. thank you so much for being here. i know this is a painful topic for you. we pleerappreciate your thought. as you look back on the year, what goes through your mind about whitney houston? >> i think mostly what is missed about her, her presence is very missed in my life. and i just miss her greatly. >> the grammys aired last night and you couldn't help but think of whitney houston when you were thinking that. >> of course. you know, i was only able to catch a few minutes. i was in church quite long
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yesterday evening. but honestly, i think i in some way avoided it because it just brought back way too many memories. because i had premium seats to go last year, but of course i decided not to go because it was just too much to be in public with the grief that i was dealing with. >> and since this year has passed, we know whitney houston's mother has written a book. your feelings on that. >> i'm happy she's able to communicate to anyone because i know that her heart has been far more overwhelmed than any of us. and she has the not had any problems expressing take, at least on the public things that she's done. and i have not taken the opportunity to read the book. i do know that she did thank me in it and i'm very grateful because of that because she did share with me when whitney was still with us how much she wanted me to take care of whitney if she were to go before
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her. and so it went the world to me for her to consider me being in whitney's life and in hers. so because i haven't had an opportunity to read it, i'm just glad that she's able to have conversation about her daughter and be as public as she's being. >> what about whitney houston's daughter, bb obbi kristina. she's been in the tabloids of late. a lot of people wondering if she's okay. >> you know, i have the utmost confidence in bobbi kristina because of what i know about her will personally. she's very strong mentally. she's young. she's doing young rich kid things for the lack of better description. you know, that's the best i can grif th give that based on what it is i know about her. and i'm confident in knowing and believing that she's going to become what her mother really wished for her. and of course we heard whitney talk about bobbi kristina often especially in her younger years
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and how she carried her around the world. and bobbi kristina expressed i didn't know she was at famous as she was until she died. whitney was just mom and i was able to share with them on the road and being in different countries and all that, but she was just mom. and she didn't realize who she was. and i watched bobbi kristina at the sparkle premiere and how amazed she was. and i remember after whitney gave her singing performance, you saw bobbi kristina stand up and give her mother an ovation. so i just believe that she's very well connected to the spirit and to the confidence that her mother had in her and that she's going to survive all of this. >> i hope so. kim burrell, thank you so much for joining us this morning. >> my pleasure. thank you. >> you're welcome. the next hour of cnn newsroom starts now. (announcer) at scottrade, our clients trade and invest
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happening now in the newsroom, breaking overnight, the pope resigns. the leader of the catholic church stepping town at tdown a of the month. the pope's last tweet even more telling this morning. quote, we must trust in the mighty power of god's mercy. we are all sinners, but his grace transforms us and makes us new. just ahead, his health, his replacement and what's next for the catholic church. newsroom starts now.
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good morning. thank you so much for being with us. we begin with a bombshell greeting that more than 1 billion catholics around the world heard. their spiritual leader, pope benedict xvi, stepping down at the end of the month. this morning's announcement is not only shocking, but historic. he becomes the first pope to resign office in 600 years. john allen is cnn senior vatican analyst and joins us now live from vatican city. john, decisions are not make at the vatican it in a day or even in the any len ymillennium. should we read more into this? it seems so sudden. >> in one accepts it seems so sudden in that the vatican would give us no indication whatsoever that this decision would be coming down the pike today. we've been led to believe that this was a personal decision that was not widely shared inside the corridors of the
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vatican. even senior officials here were taken off guard and stunned by. i can tell you personally, carol, i was scheduled to have lunch today with a senior vatican official who had to scramble just asdy to respond to this breaking news because he, too, had no inkling that it was coming. on another level, it's not so surprising if we consider that two years ago benedict xvi gave an interview in which the issue of papal resignation came up. he indicated not only a pope could resign under church law, but there could be an obligation if he felt he wasn't up to the job. so it's not the fact that it happened, it's the fact that it happened today sort of out of the clear blue sky that has left all of us scrambling to catch up. >> i know that the pope says he's resigning in poor health and of course i believe him, but there's the little thing in the back of my mind that says this
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has a lot to do with the lingering effects of the sex abuse scandal within the church and the dwindling number of catholics both in the united states and in europe. >> reporter: well, i don't think you're entirely wrong to connect the dots that way. it's not the case i think of -- i don't think you can read the re r resignation that it was because of the challenges facing the church. but it's fair to say that benedict is aware that although he has tried to be a great teaching pope, leading a global graduate seminar, if you'd like, on the intersection between faith and reason and their mutual dependence on one another, it's also true that the catholic church in the last seven years on his watch has been rocked by any number of meltdowns and internal fires that he's struggled to put out. and i think it would be fair to say that benedict's read is that to take the church forward, to recover in a sense from those internal difficulties, requires
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someone who can bring a level of energy and a dynamism to the job that he simply at this stage in his life, he personally is simply not prepared to give. and, therefore, i think you could read this as hits decision to clear the way for someone else who can in effect give the church a new lease on life at what is undeniably a fairly difficult cross roots for it. >> american catholics at least half hope the next pope is more progressiv progressive on things like birth control and gay rights. joining us on the phone -- how do you feel about the pope's resignation? >> i agree with john, it's a stunning day in the history of the church. it appears to be an ability of
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humility. this comes right before catholics begin to celebrate lent. the season of atonement where we ask for forgiveness. and i think it makes a lot of us ask the question of what's possible, you know. like you mentioned, the leadership of the catholic church is facing a very great crisis. you mentioned the sex abuse. but also the overconcern for contraception and gay people and abortion rather than addressing the real moral issues like climate change or immigration, issues on our national borders. these are the things that most catholics are thinking about in the global context. and we're thinking now do we have an opportunity with the next pontiff to reorient the leadership of the catholic church. >> and we should mention that yours is a progressive catholic organization and we should also also mention that many say that the majority of american catholics believe in birth
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control. 98% of catholic women have taken some sort of contraception in their life time. and as far as gays, they think that ought to be acceptable, it too. italians are pushing for an italian. americans are probably pushing for an american pope. but both of those steam eem unl right now. maybe the church will go to africa or latin america where came not civ catholicism is growing. >> that's true. we're talking about latin america, africa, like you mentioned, and a couple points to know. cardinal tarkson comes out of africa and he's been the most outspoken on economic in-y'allity. he's the one who offered that great liter on the need to refor the world's financial industries
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because of its lack of accountability to the common good. all that to say cardinals from the south are going to be much greater in their awareness of it of inequality, but they'll also be fairly conservative on issues like perhaps contraception or gays for that matter. >> james in catholic united, thank you so much for joining us this morning. it's been a busy morning at st. patrick cathedral in new york city. that's where deborah feyerick is standing by. have you talked to any parishioners? >> reporter: we have. but the timing is very surprising. it is just before lent, just before easter. the resignation caught many by surprise, among them the archbishop of new york, cardinal timothy dolan. he said he's heard rumors at various time, but when the official cord came this morning, he said he was startled and he's waiting for in-structure like other leaders, he said clearly
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the pope would have confided to his closest staff, so there must be some sort of transition in place. benedict is the one who made dolan a cardinal and the cardinal today spoke of his affection for the man and the humility he must have for the office to make such a drastic move and resign. take a listen. >> my admiration for him is even higher because of his humility. i would presume, i don't have any insider information, but i would presume that his esteem for the office as the successor of st. peter and the chief pastor of the church universal, that esteem is so high that in all humility he simply said i can't do it anymore. >> reporter: and cardinal dolan said, you know, it is physically grueling to be the pope, not just keeping up the schedule, but also so many people want to get close to you, they want to touch to you, and they tend to
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jostle the pope. he told us a story about the fact that pope benedict even before he was named pope was frail, knew his own frailty, wanted to step down, but his colleague at the time, john paul ii, wouldn't allow him to. the words of parishioners today, strange, skeptical, graceful exit, but one woman did say make sure to remind people's a good pope. >> deborah feyerick from new york city. news stunned catholics around the word, not just laypeople, but also priests and nuns who make up the clergy. >> frankly, one of admiration for this man who is so dedicated to the church, but also aware of his own limitations. and willing for the greater good of the church to resign knowing that he doesn't now have the
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energy he needs to fulfill his duties. >> first of all, i was shocked. and absolutely pleasantly surprised. i really think we have to look at you aour church and see how should go going forward and i think this pope has been very holy, but i think some of the appointments he's made have been what i would say less than creative in terms of dealing with the church and the world as we know it today. >> even pope benedict's strongest supporters concede the pope leaves behind a mixed legacy, a conservative reign marked by intellectual leadership, but tainted by a series of scandals. we'll have continuing coverage of the resignation throughout the day on cnn. it's a busy morning here at cnn. we have breaking news to tell you about out of delaware. police in wilmington say a gunman has opened fire at a courthouse there. several people have been hit,
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including a constable. no immediate word on the exact number of victims or the severity of their wounds. police say the shootings took place at the new castle county court of common pleas. wilmington's police chief was scheduled to be in philadelphia today attending a forum on gun violence with vice president joe die biden. a cruise ship is stranded in the gulf of mexico. it has no propulsion and running on emergency power. another carnival ship is en route to deliver food and water to the more than 4200 passengers and crew members stuck on board. people in hattiesburg, mississippi will be cleaning up today from a gigantic tornado that tore through the town. you see it here. this is from one of our ireporter reporters. today schools which closed. 16 were injured, two critically. about 4,000 customers have no power. all lanes of the long island
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expressway are hope in new york, but it was a slow process clearing all that snow. this is what parts of the area looked like on saturday. alison kosik is in roanoke, new york with an update. good morning. >> reporter: good morning. you know that commuting on an average day in new york can give you more than a headache. but when you close off a big stretch of a major highway, that can become a huge migraine. so both east and westbound lanes, a 30 mile portion of the highway, was closed from sunday morning all the way through sunday night. and they just opened it up in time for rush hour. the side streets are a big mess. they've barely been paved. even the tow trucks are getting stuck. we have a tow truck pulling out a tow truck. so this is the situation that still remains days after the blizzard hit. >> a tow truck pulling a --
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sorry. i said the town's name wrong. but the long island expressway is open but the side streets are terrible? >> exactly. and it's a little frustrating sa especially when we heard they said they put out all the resources dhee to get right on on it, but it hardly looks like anything was plowed here. a lot of people have been getting stuck just on this street and this is just one little street in suffolk county. >> looks terrible. alison kosik reporting live this morning. gun violence is a growing problem in this country. now president obama plans to go home and talk guns. [ woman ] my boyfriend and i were going on vacation,
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17 past the hour. time to check our top stories. catholics around the world are waking up for news pope benedict xvi is resigning. the 85-year-old pontiff cited his advanced age.
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vatican spokesman says it was a carefully thought out decision. the pope's resignation is the first in nearly 600 years. he'll leave at the end of the month. city of los angeles hope as $1 million reward will help police catch a fugitive ex-cop, christopher dorner, in a revenge plot targeting the lapd. investigators have scaled back their search in a mountain resort community. some officials think dorner may have left the state. chicago police have not made an arrest, but they're questioning two people in the killing of that dea pen dalton, killed about a mile from president obama's chicago home just a week after purchasing at his inauguration. pendleton's mother is one of the invited guests at the state of the union address tomorrow night. president obama will head to chicago friday. economy is seeing its share of violence. so far this year, 42 people have been murdered. and last year, more than 500
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people were killed in the nation's third largest city. that's where ted rowlands is live. ted, the president's trip, people of chicago are most likely welcoming it. >> reporter: yeah. absolutely, carol. in fact a lot of community activists have been asking the president to weigh in and to come to chicago to his home city and weigh in on this horrible violence problem which is taking the lives of so many young people he's expected to lay out things that he'll talk about in this state of the union address. 42 murder, the most in january since 2002. one of those deaths is the 15 yald girl who had everything coming in to her, going to a great school here in chicago,
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her life cut short. that death has really struck a nerve not only here in chicago, but across the country. people are saying enough is enough. we've got to save these kids. >> ted rowlands reporting live from chicago this morning. the president's trip comes on the heels of the much anticipated state of the union. tomorrow night's speech will focus on the economy and according to politico, the president is expected to use political capital to push republicans to raise taxes and to inflict fewer budget cuts. cnn will have 34r50complete cov tomorrow night starting at 7:00 p.m. eastern and of course the president will also address gun control tomorrow night. it was a fun time for music lovers, a great time for fun as the hit band makes its mark on music's biggest stage. [ anouncer ] ihop is in time square to compare new griddle-melts to your usual breakfast sandwich. a lot more flavor.
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>> mumford and sons wins album of the year last night at the 55th annual grammy awards. the other big winner of the night, fun. as in the new york based band fun. the band took home the grammy for best new artist and their tune we are young, which you can not get out of your head now because it will be in my head forever, that song named best song. joining us from los angeles, jermaine hall. good morning, jermaine. >> good morning. thanks for having me. >> i want to -- are you tired this morning? >> just a little bit. >> you sound exhausted. i know you were up with the grammys. before we get to the music, i want to talk about the fashion because cbs put that dress code forward and not everybody obeyed. >> well, i think that's all part of the show, the dress code, all part of the theatrics.
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so trying to take it away is almost taking away from the show a little bit. but for the most people,ic people adhered to the rule. >> for the most part. j. lo came out with a dress with her entire leg exposed and she was standing aside her dress from ver sasacversace. but it was quite a night for fun. >> yeah, so happy for those guys. glad they took home the awards they took home. i was actually expecting them to have a bigger flare testify because i really thought the glam anies would set them up to be the it when i this is year. because like last year with adelle and the passing of whitney, there wasn't one expansive narrative. >> i was kind of glad for that because adelle was like oh,
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thanks, i got to go. almost like whatever. >> i mean, the other reason it's really important that fun had the night that they had is because i think on the surface, people think that it's just a pop record, but it's a lot deeper than that. it's kind of like freddie mercury just jumped into the body of neal and took him over. >> and talking about mumford and son, you would never think of them lip-syncing ever. they're not that kind of a group. >> i think they are in a way. for the last in our years, the grammys have gone with these somewhat i said artists. and the fact that a folk rock group can take home the biggest honor of the night, i think it's great. >> true, it brings us into -- >> show as lot of diversity.
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>> chris brown and rihanna were there together. there's the photo. and i kind of find that disturbing in a way. >> i thought it was going to make a lot more noise than it did. i think the fact that people are starting to see them together all the time, it's starting to become a little less polarizing. what i was more disappointed in was the fact that chris didn't stand up when frank won his award because i thought it was an opportunity for him to show, you know, a lot of maturity. and just a little bit of humbleness. >> chris brown humble? no people who don't know, chris brown got into a fight with frank ocean. i don't know. i don't know what it was over. but you're right, it would have been great. jermaine hall, thank you so much. >> thanks for having me. talk back coming your way next. ly.
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at 30 past the hour, something new in the newsroom. talk back for 30 minutes, three topic, freight guesgreat guests input. first question. why is eighis atheism on the ri america? all three of these are atheists and proud of it. one in five americans claim no religious affiliation at all. we ask this question in light of pope benedict's resignation, he's stepping down because of age, but no one can dismiss the fact it his tenure has been marred by sexual abuse by catholic priests. what about the extremist men of god who provided forrer for youtube sensations like the amazing atheist guy? here is the debate over whether godless schools caused newtown. >> we've kicked god out of our public school system. and i think god would say to us,
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hey, i'll be glad to protect your children, but you have to invite me back into your world first. >> god didn't save the kids because he's not allowed in school. so all of a sudden god just respects the law of man? isn't he an all-powerful being? >> so the talk back question today, at least the first one, why is atheism on the rise in america? joining me now to discuss this, william craig, founder of reasonable, reverend hutchins, civil and human rights activist, and it tj kirk who calls himself the amazing atheist. welcome to all of you. i'm going toed a tg ting to add question to you, will. 9 pope is resigning at the end of the month and you say that this resignation comes at a time when the catholic church was trying to combat atheism. >> yes. the rides in the nonreligious or the rise in secularism in western society has been one of the concerns of the current
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pope. he faces tremendous challenges to christianity from both the left and the right. and this pope has stood like a bullwark against the challenge of secularism on the left and then the challenge of militant islam on the right. and i have tremendous respect for him for his resignation today because it shows that this pope is not content to be a mere figure head. he wants to be an activist in combatting these challenges to christian faith. and that takes an enormous amount of energy which i think he believes now requires a younger man. >> and i'm sure tj would say that something about the sex abuse scandal within the catholic church has caused a lot of people to lose faith in religion. tj, are you with me? >> yes, i am. well, bigger than the sex abuse scandal, if you just look at the history of christianity, jesus
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fw grew up in a time where people were impoverished and he created a religion that gave hope in desperate time. but now we live in a world where science has alleviated a lot of those problems, so it's really not that strange that people would start to turn away from religion. and it's not necessarily a turn to atheism. of the 19% of americans who have no longer have a religious affiliation of any kind, many of them still believe in god. it's the social institution of religion that they're really rejecting. >> so reverend hutchins, address that. why are people loath to say they're any one religion? >> i think that he's right. tj is right in one real sense and that is just because some don't identify themselves as having a particular religious persuasion does not mean they're atheists. religion is an stregs of spirit and you wouldity. so i think there is a major difference in whether or not people are nonreligious and whether they didn't believe in god or the existence of god
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overall. i think a growing number of americans are struggling and grappling with this issue of is there a god that really exists. when we look at our starving economy, when we look at the fact that people are still losing their homes to foreclosure, mass shootings in school, so many things that are really challenging to our nation and our world, it causes people who may not be faith oriented anyway to question the existence of this god that we talk about and preach about across the country. >> so you're the these lodn the bill. >> and i appreciate it. j's honesty in saying we shouldn't equate nonreligious with atheism. atheism is only 2% to 3%. >> it's 5%. >> it's 2% to 3% from the studies i've seen. but the people on whieople oftes nonreligious because the
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nondenominational labels have become less important. so very often these people do believe in god, they have a prayer life, they have a spiritual life, but denomination al labels are a lot less important. and the second point, if i -- >> well, i want tj to get in here. >> the thing that is really kind of important about that, though, too, is 5% of people self identify as atheists. it's also kind of disingenuous to say that people who don't believe in fwd yet don't identify as atheists aren't atheists. they're still atheists because atheism is by definition not believing in god or any sort of particular deity. so there are a lot who don't identify as atheists but really they are. so i think it's probably higher than 5%, but 5% is the the number of people that self identify as atheists. >> sadly we'll have to wrap it
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up, but it was fascinating. question number two this morning. is the i can't of drones moral? c daum like to join the conversation. it's like a sexy sandwich. [ anouncer ] compare new griddle melts yourself. just $4.99. it's an epic breakfast sandwich. good afternoon. chase sapphire. (push button tone) this is stacy from springfield. oh whoa. hello? yes. i didn't realize i'd be talking to an actual person. you don't need to press "0," i'm here. reach a person, not a prompt whenever you call chase sapphire. why should saturday night have all the fun?
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welcome back to an expanded edition of talk back. another question for you this morning. is the use of drones moral? the obama administration under scrutiny for using drones to kill u.s. terror suspects abroad sparking criticism there both sides of the aisle. rand paul telling this to kathy crowley. >> i think you should be tried for treason. if you're an american citizen, you go oversea, you take up arms, i'm probably for executing you, but i'd want to hear the evidence. but there needs to be a trial for treason. the president, a politician, prp or democrat, should never get to decide someone's death by
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flipping through flash cards and say do you want to kill him. >> former defense secretary robert gates calls himself a big advocate of drens, but agrees there is a valid argument about checking presidential power as in who should decide who we target and who we kill. is the use of drones moral? let's bring in william lane craig the founder of reason al and reverend hutchins, and in washington, molly and christine, host of the daily talk show broad minded on sirius xm satellite radio. welcome to all of you. i'd like to take this question outside of the realm of experts right now and i don't mean that in a disparaging way, molly, but what are people saying about this, is this a talker? >> i'm sorry, i just lost you. >> molly, can you hear me? >> i can hear you now, i'm sorry. i just lost you. go ahead. >> i wanted to at that time subject of drones out of hands of experts and talk to you about
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how people out there are discussing this issue. >> well, i think that i had the opportunity to interview jor moray. he did the film about the shimbet an he talked about drones and collateral damage and studies are out that 95% of people that basically when they go in, that 95% of the people that are being killed are civilians and innocent people and the facts are out. so i think that that is -- i think that's wrong. so what do you do about collateral damage. >> and collateral damage, you're talking about someone who may be killed in the initial drone attack, and of course the obama administration would argue with your statistics there. but reverend hutchins, in light of what molly just said, can you justify the use of drones? >> i think there has to be a balance between protecting people's civil liberties and
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civil rights whether they're american citizens gles particularly or abroad. are we willing to deny people due process and we cannot as a nation tout the need for due process and democracy around the world and are unwilling to provide the very same for u.s. citizens whether they be here in america or are around the world. so i think the issue of whether or not these drones are moral is one that is pretty simple for me. and the answer is no, it's not. >> and bill, i'll ask you, you're the theologian. who decides who it kill and win? that's cloudy right now. >> it seems that so long as significant collateral damage is avoided, there's nothing immoral in using drones to kill terrorist enemies of the united states. >> if it's just one casualty, it's okay as opposed to three or four? >> yes. if you're not killing innocents along with the targeted individual who poses a signature threat to the safety of american people, i think that makes it
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horl. but, carol, that isn't to say it's constitutional. not everything that is moral is legal. not everything that is illegal is immoral. so the constitutional question of the rights of american citizens is quite a separate question than the ethical or moral question. >> and every american has the right to a fair trial, a speedy trial. and that's certainly not happening in this case, right? >> no. and just listening to that, my thing, and you asked to take it outside of washington and what real people and real people are asking questions and what we're saying, our question is did they know that their lives were at risk when they went and took these jobs? did they know the possibility of these drone attacks were happening? i think this is something they should have known and this would be my question. and so i kind of -- i'm sorry, i disagree. i don't think it's moral.
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>> i think there are two other perspectives. if we are living at american citizens under the constitution, i think if it is unconstitutional, it is also immoral at least on my view. and the second aspect of that is we're not just killing foreign threats to america. we're also killing americans suspected of engaging in trar r terrorist activity. so i think it's also immoral. >> talk back question is the use of drones moral. i wanted to get some of our facebook friends in. not only is it moral, it's cheap per temperature doesn't cost tons of money or american lives. and this from nathan, the fact we're questioning the morality of using drones to kill people instead of humans to kill humans just shows hour stupid or species is. next talk back topic, did rex reed go too far in criticizing melissa mccarthy's weight. he called her a tank. we'll be right back. uld smoke for the first week... i'm like...yeah, ok...
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you ready? we wanna be our brother's keeper. what's number two we wanna do? bring it up to 90 decatherms. how bout ya, joe? let's go ahead and bring it online. attention on site, attention on site. now starting unit nine. some of the world's cleanest gas turbines are now powering some of america's biggest cities. siemens. answers.
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time for a quick check on our top church will soon have to begin the process of finding a new pope. pope benedict xvi shocked the world this morning with news that he's resigning because of his advanced age. he's the first pope in nearly 600 years to resign. a coast grd cutter has arrived to help tow a cruise ship stranded in the gulf of mexico. a weekend fire left carnival triumph with running on
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emergency power. 4200 passengers and crew are on board the ship. new details on the courthouse shooting in wilmington, delaware. just minutes ago, police said two women are dead in addition to the shooter. two capital police officers were injured. the shootings took place at the new castle county court of common pleas. people in hattiesburg will be cleaning up from a huge tornado that tore through the town. today schools are closed including the university of southern mississippi. the storm left more than a dozen people injured, two of them critically. all lanes of the long island expressway open this morning in new york, but it was a slow processclearing all that snow. be careful out there. now back to talk back. third question. did rex reed go too far in criticizing melissa mccarthy's weight? the laugh is on him because
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identity thief was tops at the box office this weekend. >> you can do it the hard way or the easy way. >> i'd like to pick about the easy way. i love that guitar. >> the movie a hit despite the blizzard that clobbered the northeast. but the distaste over reed's comments linger. in his review, reed called mccarthy, quote, tractor sized, a screeching humongous creep, and a female hippo. whoa. that unleashed a flood of vitriol on social media. it's also true sometimes mccarthy uses her weight as a punch line. so talk back, did rex reed go too far? joining me again from washington molly and melissa, and reverend
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hutchins will stick around because he has some interesting input, as well. but let's start with you, molly. and just your reaction when you heard rex reed's comments. >> so he goes after her weight and he's a total jerk. but the thing is, she has the talent. she is -- all the female comics getting all the movies, they're all wrong coms and now we finally have someone new that is different and we're going back to sketch comedy. so for him to say something so stupid is ridiculous. and paul fig lamb blasted him because he just looks bad. >> you have to admit melissa mccarthy uses her weight as foil for her comedy. >> it's true and i watch her every monday night on mike and molly and i love her. but i had no idea that it took very little to be a film critic
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because then i would be one. he's not critiquing the film. he's critiquie ining ex-see ini weight. and he did the same thing with sarah jessica parker's mole on her chin and it had nothing to do with the film itself. so is he film critic or is he something from a bad reality show on what looks good, what doesn't look good? she's a great actress. when i watch mike and molly, never does it come across that -- you forget. if you're a fan, you forget at all that that's the situation. she is just a talented actress. that's all there is to it. >> and for people who have had a weight problem, and reverend hutchins, you are one, these comments from rex reed were difficult to hear. >> i think rex is being a small minded c eed can tankerrous old. as one who has lost 135 pounds
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myself, i recognize how so often those who are heavier poke fun at themselves as a way of dealing with emotional stresses that come with carrying that much weight. look, melissa should be judged based on the quality of her skills as an actress and she's great at it. and rex judging her or criticizing her based upon her weight is just totally out of the realm of appropriateness and reason ability. and he really should be ashamed of himself. >> all right. thanks to all of you for making this new talk back thing we're doing a success. we appreciate it. we want to hear from you, too. did rex reed go too far? this from david, rex reed has been a jerk for decades, not that i'm particularly a fan of mccarthy. would he have said it about a guy? and from sandy, i love her, she's adorable and she's gorgeous. rex is a critic. that's what he does. from dwebra, he has freedom of speech, but what ever happened for manners? somehow this different than bullying? [ designer ] enough of just covering up
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i apologize for not getting your responses in on our question about atheism, so i'll do that now. why is atheism on the rise in america? from tom, if a real god who exists, he would strike down those dead who were murderers and rapists. and on the question of are droughns moral, yes, because it saves american lives. when you become a terrorist, you don't respect the rights of others. therefore they have no rights. i'm carol costello.
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